I've been at home sick for the past three days. I hate summer colds. But what I hate more is lazy advertising. You know, the kind of ad you see where you just think to yourself "Did they really think that was the best thing to do?" or "Man, they really didn't spend anytime thinking about that did they?".
Today I received two pieces of direct mail that caused me to pause and ask "What were they thinking?"
One was from a local Nissan dealer. We used to have a Maxima so we had taken our car there in the past. We've bought cars from their Honda dealership in the past too. We have been pleased with both the sales and service relationship at the dealership so it was not surprising to get a direct mail piece from them. We've gotten them in the past. It wasn't even surprising to see the caliber of the creative. It is what you would expect. Not good.
The second piece was from Time Warner Cable. We do not have cable. In fact Time Warner Cable is on my list of companies that if given no other choice I still would not do business with them. Long story, but let's just say that they wanted to charge us $10,000 to cut down trees so they could get a line to the house. All of our neighbors have cable and didn't have to go through that. Okay... feeling a rant coming that is going to get me off topic... so back to the ads.
So we got an ad from a car dealer and an ad from a cable company. And what message did they choose to use? They both stole/borrowed/used with creative license from the TV show Deal Or No Deal. Here are the ads for each:
I expect a car dealership to add to the messaging clutter that's out there. I even expect them to rip off their message from a game show like Deal Or No Deal. I do, for some reason even though I won't do business with them, expect more from Time Warner Cable. Maybe it's because I know they can hire a big time agency to do the work. Maybe it's because I've seen some of their communication efforts that have been of a higher quality in the past. Maybe it's because when I see a car dealership do the same thing I think that Time Warner Cable has really hit rock bottom.
Now, that's slamming Time Warner Cable a lot, but perhaps I should say a thing something about O'Neill Nissan contributing to the clutter too. C'mon guys! You can do a whole lot better. In fact if you want to really stand out do not take an idea that anyone can think of and slap your name on it. Think about your customers. You must have reams of data on us. There has to be something there that you can use to develop an insightful communication. What about your sales people? Did you talk to them? They surely have some insight you could have used. Instead you were lazy and added to the clutter.
So the message here? It does not matter what size your company is, what industry you are in, what your advertising budget is... you too can produce bad advertising. All you have to do is... not think.